An Anti-Antiracist Federal Curriculum is Neither Patriotic nor Legal. Discuss.

The Trump Administration recently waded into waters reserved – not only by tradition but also by federal law – for state and local educational agencies: what curriculum is taught in public schools. Most significantly, the President threatened to withhold federal education funding from the state of California if it uses the 1619 Project curriculum. In a September 17 speech delivered at the White House Conference on American History, he described that particular curriculum (and other anti-racist approaches) as “toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.” He also announced the creation of a 1776 Commission that would “promote patriotic education” and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that would fund the creation of “a pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history.”
Many education and legal experts quickly pointed out that federal law prohibits the federal government from getting involved in state and local decisions about curriculum. Most cited Section 8526A of the major federal education statute, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which states:
No officer or […]


EducationCounsel supports efforts to protect rights of transgender students across the country

Through its long-standing engagement with GLSEN, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ inclusive schools, EducationCounsel has authored numerous amicus briefs along with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP on behalf of GLSEN, the National PTA, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists (referred to as “amici” below) in the U.S. Supreme Court and several federal circuit courts of appeal.
While equitable access to school restrooms may seem unimportant and tangential to some, being able to use the restroom that matches his gender identity has been the plight of Gavin Grimm, and to an increasing number of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, for many years. His journey continues with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing oral arguments on his case late last month — for the second time.
Last year, EducationCounsel filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Gavin (Grimm v. Gloucester Country School Board). Gavin, who identifies as transgender, is a former student of Gloucester County Schools and has been fighting for relief […]


EducationCounsel’s Statement on Racial Justice

June 3, 2020
The horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people, combined with the nationwide protests that followed, have once again laid bare the painful truth that systemic racism and inequities remain an unconscionable blight on our nation.  In criminal justice.  In housing.  In healthcare. In employment. And also in education.
In this moment, like too many that have preceded it, we hear, honor, and share the grief and outrage of our Black family members, friends, and colleagues; and we commit to speaking up and taking action—Black lives matter.


Building Back Better: Ensuring Equitable Funding for the Students Who Need it Most

May 28, 2020
Cathy Holahan & EducationCounsel
The K-12 public education system has a long way to go towards providing truly equitable student experiences and outcomes for students — ones that prepare them to thrive in school and beyond. We know that in order to create equitable learning environments we must aspire to a number of key characteristics for schools — including culturally affirming curriculums, safe and empowering climates, and flexible designs that meet the needs of all learners.


The CARES Act: Five Things that School and District Leaders Need to Know Now

April 30, 2020
Sean Worley, Scott Palmer

The following was created in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and originally appeared on their blog on April 23, 2020.
The newly enacted federal law in response to the coronavirus crisis provides more than $30 billion for K-12 and higher education programs; more than $4 billion for early childhood education; and other supports such as forgivable loans to nonprofits, including many providers of afterschool or summer programs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act comes at a moment when many states and districts are closing schools while seeking to continue to educate students, out-of-school-time programs are pondering how best to offer services and summer is fast approaching.
To assist decision makers, this post summarizes five things that school and district leaders should know about the major education provisions in the CARES Act. It also contains information pertaining to nonprofits.

The $2.3 trillion CARES Act provides new, one-time funding for states, districts and schools—based in part on poverty but with significant flexibility regarding where funds are used.

The law includes a $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund divided into three parts and meant to provide initial […]


Lessons Learned, or Lost?

September 6, 2019
Kathryn Young

As I chat with my kids about their first week of school, I can feel their nervous excitement about new classmates and teachers, books yet unread, projects to come, and hidden talents yet to be discovered.  School systems and homes all across America share in this time of preparation and anticipation for the new school year.  Often less heralded, however, is the work schools and education systems do to look back at prior work and figure out how this year can be even better.   For example, at my children’s school, a committee of parents and teachers are starting the year with a backwards look at the newly-released state assessment scores.  We are asking ourselves what the data mean for the effectiveness of last year’s strategies and staffing.  We’ll use those insights to help decide what to keep or change this year and beyond.  It is just one part of a larger process of continuous improvement the school uses to learn from and improve its supports and strategies.
In many schools, fall is also the time for new […]


Federal Nondiscrimination Law Regarding Diversity

June 26, 2019
Art Coleman and Jamie Lewis-Keith

Earlier this month, the College Board, NASFAA, and EducationCounsel released a new publication, Federal Nondiscrimination Law Regarding Diversity: Implications for Higher Education Financial Aid and Scholarship Policies and Programs.  This resource provides guidance to enrollment professionals around financial aid strategies and scholarship policies involving the consideration of race, ethnicity and sex that advance the institution’s diversity goals and are legally sustainable.
Financial aid and scholarship policies and practices are subject to the same federal nondiscrimination laws as admissions programs, but unlike admissions, they have not generated significant attention or been the subject of Supreme Court decisions.  Notably, the current legal landscape now involves an increased number of federal litigation and agency enforcement claims that reflect an expanded scope (beyond admissions), including allegations of race and sex discrimination in financial aid, as well as co-curricular and similar programs.
Advancing the diversity-associated mission of institutions of higher education requires attending to the imperatives of good policy and legal sustainability.  This guide seeks to elevate awareness of how to do that, with a focus on financial aid and […]


The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion

The Mindset Scholars Network in cooperation with
EducationCounsel and the Raikes Foundation invite you to a briefing on:
The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Russell Senate Office Building, SR-385
With only about half of all students who enroll in postsecondary education completing a degree, institutions and policymakers are seeking evidence-based ways to improve college completion and advance equity. Leading researchers Claude Steele, Stanford professor and author of Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, Mary Murphy of Indiana University, Greg Walton of Stanford University, and Lisa Quay of the Mindset Scholars Network are engaged in efforts to better understand how students’ experiences impacts their persistence and completion and are developing evidence-based actions institutions can take to support postsecondary completion.
Read the Full PDF.


How rising teacher pension costs hurt school districts

Originally posted at on April 22, 2019.
States try to rescue their pension systems from bankruptcy, leaving less money for classrooms and teacher pay
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Glenn Gustafson was already bracing for a rough Valentine’s Day. Looming on his calendar was a sure-to-be-wrenching meeting to cut $10 million in spending from the Colorado Springs School District’s budget, a move largely forced by rapidly declining enrollment as families moved out of the district and singles moved in. Gustafson, the district’s CFO and — according to his wife — the “world’s only extroverted accountant,” had dubbed the meeting the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
And then, the week before the scheduled budget bloodshed, he attended a presentation by the director of the state’s pension system and got some unpleasant news. Gustafson learned that his district might have to slash an additional $890,000 next year, as part of the state’s latest attempt to make the system solvent by 2049.
Read the Full Article.


Race in admissions in the wake of the Texas Tech resolution

By Art Coleman, JD, and Jamie Lewis Keith, JD.
Originally posted at on April 12, 2019.
Medical schools may continue to pursue the all-important goals of diversity and inclusion while following the principles of law.
This week we learned that the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had resolved a complaint filed almost 14 years ago against Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). TTUHSC School of Medicine signed a resolution agreement ending the practice of considering race in admissions unless and until such time that it determines such consideration to be appropriate under the federal legal standards outlined by the OCR — and on the condition that it provides advance notice of that change to the OCR.
Read the Full Article.